Nutrition Articles

Meal Prepping 101

Meal Prepping 101

Being organised and prepping your food in advance is essential to getting in shape and eating healthier. But for many people, the idea of batch cooking can seem daunting. If you struggle to organise yourself well enough to prep your meals, then this article will show you how easy it is to start taking control in the kitchen.

Here are my top tips for prepping food and getting ahead...

Start small

If you’re the sort of person who’s idea of meal prepping is weighing up which Pret sandwich you’re going to eat that day, then the thought of preparing meals for a whole week may seem too daunting. Don’t bite off more than you can chew (high five for the food pun!), start small and just begin by preparing your lunch for a couple of days. Once you feel comfortable cooking one or two lunches, you can begin to plan more meals.

Cook for an imaginary friend

I’m not talking about setting the table and having a plate of food laid out to an empty seat at the table, that would be far too weird, what I mean is imagine you were catering for an extra guest or two and use the “extras” as lunch for a couple of days.

For instance, if you’re cooking a Sunday Roast, add some extra carrots and parsnips to the roasting tray and a tad more broccoli to the saucepan. When you plate up you can simply add some chicken and your extra veg to some Tupperware and you’ve got a tasty lunch ready to go at minimal extra time or effort.

Tupperware you say?

Ah Tupperware. Just where do those extra lids go? One of life’s true mysteries. If you don’t already own some Tupperware then grab yourself some from somewhere like Amazon (other Tupperware suppliers are available), it will make your food prep life so much easier, I prefer the glass tubs with the plastic lock-able lids for two reasons…

  1. You can put hot food straight into a glass tub without worrying about any cross contamination. With plastic tubs you can possibly take on some of the nasty toxic properties of plastic, which isn’t great for your health!
  2. I’ve had too many food leak related disasters with the non-lockable lids.

You could also invest in a small Thermos food flask. When it’s cold and drab outside and storm Imogen is doing her worst, a Tupperware box of salad and chicken can seem quite unappealing. A nice warming soup or stew, or some hot steaming leftovers of last nights Thai Green curry may just be the little kick you need to brighten up your day.

Put some time aside

Once you get into the swing of things, start to block out a little time to make food prepping part of your weekly routine. Half an hour here and there really will make the world of difference. Whether you’re looking to lose some weight or add some muscle, eating right is going to be fundamental to your goals. Just as you’d put aside time for the gym, pencil in some time to make your meals each week.

Why not try these…

Here’s a couple I made earlier. Below you’ll find two of my favourite meal prep recipes. I’ve written these so that even the most novice chef can put them together, minimal knife skills required.

beef stew recipe

Beef Stew
  • 1kg Beef Casserole Steak
  • 1 x Casserole Vegetable Pack
  • 1 x Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 x Litre of Vegetable Stock
  • 2 x Cloves of Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 x Bouquet Garni
  • 1 x Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1 x Tbsp of Olive Oil

beef stew recipe2 

Instructions

In a large casserole dish heat the olive oil. Once hot, carefully add the beef and brown off. Add the vegetable pack, garlic and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes to soften the veg. Add the vegetable stock, tinned tomatoes and the bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Put the pot into the centre of a preheated oven (160 degrees) and cook for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and divide between 4 Tupperware dishes, add some steamed green beans to each pot.

NB This recipe is so simple but tastes sooo good. It’ll take you 15 minutes of cooking time. Once you put the casserole in the oven it’ll take 3 hours more but you can leave it and go about your day as usual.

Baked Chicken Recipe

Tray Baked Chicken (Taken from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals)
  • 4 x Chicken Breasts
  • 4 x Rashers of Streaked Smoky Bacon
  • 2 x Peppers (1 Red and 1 Yellow) Quartered
  • 1 x 300g Pack of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 x Tbsp of Dried Oregano
  • 1 x Tbsp of Sweet Paprika
  • 1 x Lemon
  • 1 x Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 x Pinch of Salt
  • 1 x Pinch of Black Pepper

Baked Chicken Recipe

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. In a bowl mix the chicken, oregano, paprika, black pepper, salt and bit of olive oil covering each chicken breast evenly. Add the chicken to the hot pan and seal, turning after a few minutes on each side. With tongs, remove the chicken and add to a baking tray with the tomatoes, peppers and lemon quarters. Place the streaky bacon on top. Place the tray under a grill. Cook for approximately 14 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill and divide between 4 Tupperware dishes. Add a handful of rocket salad and half an avocado to each dish.

Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think of them.

 

Nikki Clarke

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